Public and Regulatory

Marine and Fisheries

David has expertise experience in this area. Full details can be found in the specialist 'Marine and Fisheries' section below.

Over the last 12 months David has appeared in courts across the UK and in the Falkland Islands in fisheries matters.

He is committed to the practice and study of law having qualified in New York State (2000) and taken his Masters degree in Maritime Law at Southampton University (whilst still practising full time).

Other Public and Regulatory work

July 2018 Bulford Military Court Centre - led by Nigel Lickley QC prosecuting three army officers for their role in the gross negligence manslaughter of a soldier shot dead on army ranges in 2012. The case involved detailed consideration of the regulations applicable to ranges  and the safe operation of live firing exercises. All three accused were convicted after trial.

David has recently advised a London window cleaning company in relation to safe practices operating at height.

He has advised as to the proper packaging of foodstuffs.

In August 2018 he appeared for a large midlands roofing company in responding to applications for enforcement notices before Coventry County Court.

David has appeared for national supermarkets charged with selling out of date food; he has represented dockyard scrap merchants at inquest proceedings. He appeared for the defendant in the first ever trading standards prosecution for the sale of legal highs.

Led by Nigel Lickley QC in CPS & MCA v Doug Innes and Stormforce Coaching (Cheeki Rafiki) (2018) he prosecuted a defendant charged with 4 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence after failing to ensure the safety of the yacht Cheeki Rafiki that capsized in the Atlantic causing the deaths of the four crew.  A technically complex case.

He has experience of cases concerning the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) regulations 2013. He has appeared in the County Court for the defence in opposing enforcement orders under the Enterprise Act 2002.

He has appeared for care home owners charged with breaches of noise abatement notices.

In a recent case at Bournemouth Crown Court involving the alleged wide scale breach of trade mark and copyright he was determined and uncompromising in resisting the claims against his clients who had inadvertently fallen foul of the local trading standards department. He has represented car dealers charged under the unfair trading regulations.

He has represented local authorities prosecuting the deposit of waste without a waste management licence.

He has lectured local authorities on the EU Toy Safety Directive and the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 and the implications for market surveillance and enforcement thereunder.

He has represented local authorities and applicants before council committees in matters of alcohol and entertainment licence applications.

He has successfully defended a car dealer charged under the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations.

Road Haulage

David has appeared before the Traffic Commissioner and public enquiries on behalf of hauliers seeking goods vehicle operators licences.

He has developed particular expertise in cases of death through driving and has been involved in more than a dozen such cases in the last five years. These have ranged from two accused racing on country lanes, to a blacksmith with a defective trailer and a haulier with an allegedly insecure load (R v P). He has become adept at dealing with complex issues of causation and analysis of road traffic collisions.

This latter case of R v P required a detailed forensic examination of the reliability of locking mechanisms on a catering trailer; the prosecution evidence that failure of the locks was impossible was challenged, resulting in a volte face by the prosecution expert accepting the possibility of the locks appearing secure yet failing during the course of the journey. David was praised for the clarity of his advice in this matter, without which the client (54 years old, never been in court before) would have found the case overwhelming.

In 2013 he represented a driver charged with causing the death of two Afghan civilians through careless driving of a 15 ton vehicle. Through challenging the prosecution expert evidence the case was dropped by the SPA.

Police Law

David has appeared on behalf of and advised claimants against the police for the excessive use of force and libel / slander / breach of duty. He has advised on the options open to a claimant aggrieved by police action amounting to potential false imprisonment and malicious prosecution of a judicial office holder.

He has appeared for the police at disciplinary tribunals. He has advised and assisted the police in obtaining various orders including Risk of Sexual Harm Orders and Premises Closure Orders

Service Law

In May and June 2018 David was led by Nigel Lickley QC in the successful prosecution of an Army Captain for the gross negligence manslaughter of a soldier on ranges he was running in Castlemartin, Wales in May 2012. The case concerned the safe operation of a live firing range; experts in ballistics, pathology and range management were called to address the key factual issues of where the fatal round came from and the extent of the fault that attached to the accused.

Also tried by the same court were a Lieutenant Colonel and Sgt Major both of who were convicted of negligent performance of their duties in the planning for, setting up and running of these ranges. The prosecution followed investigations by Dyfed Powys police, the Health and Safety Executive, the Army’s Land Accident Investigation team and a coronial inquest. Despite complex legal challenges and an extremely complicated factual scenario the case was brought to trial and successfully prosecuted.

From 2015 to 2016 David held the  post of Principal Legal Adviser to the Director of Service Prosecutions. This role placed him at the heart of the Service Justice System. He introduced new measures for cooperation and engagement between the service prosecuting authority and the service police. Working with the Judge Advocate General he guided the introduction of Better Case Management in the Court Martial.

This builds on his background as an army legal service officer (1992-6) and his regular and frequent appearances before the Court Martial. He has defended cases of attempted murder, rape, corruption, service fraud, gbh with intent and child abuse. He has been instructed to prosecute cases of rape on behalf of the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA).

He has previously represented the SPA in the Administrative Court (R v MoD (ex p Al Sweady) [2009]) and has taken a case (R v Bulford Court Martial ex p Bowyer (1999)EWHC 239) to the House of Lords.

He secured the first successful challenge to a terminating ruling by a judge advocate (R v B and B [2010].

His articles on the service justice system have appeared in the Criminal Law Review and he has lectured the Service Prosecuting Authority and defence solicitors.

He has Developed Vetting Security Clearance.

Marine and Fisheries Law

Over the last 12 months David has appeared in courts across the UK and in the Falkland Islands in fisheries matters.

He is committed to the practice and study of law having qualified in New York State (2000) and taken his Masters degree in Maritime Law at Southampton University (whilst still practising full time).


“I owe him and my solicitor everything” - BB - client charged with fraud on the European Fisheries Fund

“A credit to the profession” - HHJ FS - following trial of two police officers

“Outstanding” - HHJ JB - following rape trial of officer cadet

In 2015 David completed his LLM in Maritime Law at Southampton University, with merit and has since lectured on the Maritime Labour Convention.

In 2017 he has advised on the requirement for licences for shellfish farms and on challenges to the points system for deep sea fishing licences administers by the MMO.

He represented the Pilot of the City of Rotterdam charged with an offence under s,21 Pilotage Act 1987 (Misconduct by a Pilot endangering a ship) in one of the first prosecutions of this offence in the Crown Court. The proceedings followed the substantial collision between the City of Rotterdam and the Primula Seaways in the Humber at about 8.30pm on 3rd December 2015. The case involved drafting of application to the High Court to allow use of materials gathered by the MAIB; there were multiple experts as to both the design of the vessel and the duties of pilots and masters under Coll Regs and IMO Res 960.

He has advised as to applications for disclosure from the MAIB (Winchester and Hull Crown Courts).

In the last two years he has represented defendants charged with substantial fraud on the European Fisheries Fund, prosecuted by the Marine Management Organisation; he has experience of inquest proceedings arising from dockyard incidents and death at sea.

In December 2015 he travelled to the Falklands to represent the Spanish master of a trawler charged under local legislation with deliberately fishing for a species not permitted under his licence. This litigation concluded in June 2016 in London.

David has previously qualified in New York. He is engaged as specialist prosecutor by the Iraq Historic Allegations Prosecution Team and in that role advises on the application of international humanitarian law to British Service personnel.

He has a commitment to international law and is available to consult on an international basis.

Notable Cases

  • Apr 2018 R v Innes (Winchester Crown Court) (’The Cheeki Rafiki’ trial) led by Nigel Lickley QC prosecuting the managing operator of a commercial yacht for the unsafe operation of the vessel resulting in the death of 4 sailors while crossing the Atlantic in the vessel Cheeki Rafiki.
  • He has recently advised as to the regulations governing disposal of water held on board a vessel following a fire in Southampton Docks.
  • November 2017 (Hull Crown Court): R v S: defence of a pilot charged under s.21 Pilotage Act 1987 following collision between the City of Rotterdam and the Primula Seaways in the Humber at about 8.30pm on 3rd December 2015, The case involved multiple experts as to both the design of the vessel and the duties of pilots and masters under Coll Regs and IMO Res 960.
  • R v B July 2015 (Newcastle Crown Court) - Defence of owner of crab processing factory in charges of fraud relating to the European fisheries fund.
  • Inquest into death of PH June 2015 (Portsmouth)
  • Representing owner of marine scrap yard following death of sub contractor on site.
  • R v B September 2014 (Portsmouth Crown Court)
  • Defence in alleged fraud on the European Fisheries Fund.
  • R v Conlin July 2014 (Winchester Crown Court) - Led by Nigel Lickley Q.C. in the successful prosecution of a father for the murder by shaking / trauma of his 4 and a half month old daughter. Case involved complex expert evidence relevant to causation and timing of injury.
  • R v F August 2014 (Bournemouth Crown Court) - Successfully argued the accused, suffering acute psychotic disorder, was not guilty by reason of insanity.


David hosted a seminar exploring the implications of Brexit for the UK fisheries industry. Together with Andrew Oliver of Andrew Jackson and Co. they discussed future regulation following Brexit with representatives of the industry from across England and Wales and from both fishers, POs and regulators. Following presentations and a round table discussion the meeting concluded that areas of most concern looking forward are:

  • Whether the Great Repeal Bill will be an exercise in buying time by the government
  • The need to reclaim territorial waters for exclusive use of the UK inshore fleet and to serve notice under the London Convention 1964
  • The need to strengthen the economic link requirements for flag ships
  • The assertion of UK regulation of technical requirements, as is done by Norway and Iceland
  • To ensure proper, full and as far as possible unified input from the whole industry to the Government’s Brexit Group Monthly Meeting

Police law

David Richards has appeared for police forces in the following matters:

  • licensing: firearms, liquor and entertainment licensing - before local authority committees and magistrates courts
  • Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk orders - appeals in the Crown Court
  • Cash seizure proceedings in Magistrates and Crown courts
  • Police Disciplinary Tribunals - matters of violent and sexual misconduct and dishonesty

He has also advised the police on obtaining of medical records prior to charging; crack house closure orders and conflict of jurisdiction (ref service personnel) in matters of historic sexual allegations.



  • 2nd Sep 2016

    David Richards reviews Fleet Maritime Services v the Pensions Regulator, on the applicability of automatic pensions enrolment for peripatetic employees

    View Publication


‘An experienced advocate who has excellent client skills.’
Legal 500 2020/Crime - Tier 1

‘Thorough, hardworking, and excellent at marshalling evidence.’
Legal 500 2020/Regulatory, health and safety, and licensing - Tier 1

"A winner with judges and juries."
Legal 500 2018/19/Crime - Tier 1

“I owe him and my solicitor everything”: BB - client charged with fraud on the European Fisheries Fund
Client testimonial

“A credit to the profession”
HHJ FS - following trial of two police officers

HHJ JB - following rape trial of officer cadet

View Full CV

Academic qualifications

  • MA (Cantab) 1988
  • Bar Finals 1989
  • New York State Bar 2000
  • LLM Maritime Law Southampton University 2015

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Principal Legal Adviser to the Director of Service Prosecutions 2015-16
  • Grade 4 prosecutor
  • CPS Rape Specialist
  • Recorder, Midlands Circuit
  • Legal Assessor Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Specialist Regulatory Advocates in H&S and Environmental Law List

Professional bodies

  • Western Circuit
  • Health and Safety Lawyers Association

Direct Access

David Richards is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

More Information